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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Dean's Column (Nov. 2015)

Dear Extension Retirees,

It was a pleasure to see so many of you this summer during our annual retiree luncheons. I am always inspired by how engaged Extension retirees are in their “retirement.” Volunteering, traveling, babysitting, gardening …you do make it hard for the rest of us to return to the office!

In October, I did one of my favorite duties as dean, honoring our employees and friends with the distinguished dean’s awards at the annual program conference. It is an honor to recognize the work, dedication and impact of our colleagues and friends.

Please join me in congratulating the award winners! You can learn more about the 2015 award winners on our website.

Steve Olson
, executive director of four poultry-related groups: Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council, Chicken and Egg Council of Minnesota and the Midwest Poultry Federation.

Dr. Stephen Kells
, Extension entomologist

Bruce Schwartau
, Extension educator, Community Vitality

David Werner
, chief financial officer

Children, Youth and Families At Risk (CYFAR) Team
, Abdimalik Mohamed, Mohamed Farah, Grace Gbolo, Krista Gustafson, Barbara Kapala, Dau Mohamed, Jessica Russo, Jennifer Skuza, Tim Sheldon, Anthony Walker and Hui-Hui Wang.

Farm Bill Education Team
, David Bau, Betty Berning, Bob Craven, Gary Hachfeld, Eliza Herman, Rob Holcomb, Kevin Klair, Curtis Mahnken, Dale Nordquist, Kent Olson, Jim Paulson, Jim Salfer and Allison Sandve.

Bev Durgan

2015 Extension retiree luncheons with the Dean

Extension is very fortunate to have you, our vital and active network of retirees who continue to be strong advocates, partners and volunteers. During the summer of 2015, Dean Bev Durgan hosted luncheons and was joined by 109 staff and retirees in three locations: Owatonna, Roseville and Fergus Falls. These luncheons are a great opportunity for our retirees to gather with old colleagues, share stories and learn about current initiatives in Extension.

Jane Johnson
Development Director

Professional development grants available to retirees

Grants to help retirees pursuing projects related to their scholarship have been announced by the Office of the Vice President for Research, Office of the Provost and University of Minnesota Retirees Association. The deadline for proposal submission is December 15, 2015. All faculty members, professional and administrative, and civil service retirees from the Twin Cities and coordinate campuses of the University are eligible to apply for the grants (up to $5,000). The guidelines for applying were sent to UMRA members via e-mail and are available at 2015-rfgp.pdf. For more information, visit the U of M Retiree Association website.

Extension leadership changes

Holli Arp has been appointed program leader for leadership and civic engagement (LCE) in the Extension Center for Community Vitality. Within Extension, she has been regional director since 2004; county Extension director, 2002-2003; and Extension educator, 2000-2001. She began her program leader duties on Sept. 15 and her office will be in the Worthington Regional Office.

Jill Eck joined Extension as the regional director for the Extension Regional Office in Andover. Jill has over 15 years of experience in post-secondary educational administration and supervision. Most recently, she served as director of student support with the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Kia Harries began her appointment as Extension regional director in the southwest on October 19. Kia has 24 years of professional experience with Extension, most recently as regional Extension educator, 4-H youth development. Before that position, Kia worked as an Extension educator in Jackson and Martin counties.

Mary Jo Katras began her appointment as the new Family Development resiliency program leader on July 27. She has been a statewide family resiliency Extension educator and associate professor since 2012. She lectures in the University of Minnesota Department of Family Social Science, teaching family policy, family economics and personal finance.

Dr. Ingrid Schneider stepped down from her position as director of the University of Minnesota Tourism Center effective October 30, to work full-time in her faculty teaching and research position in the University’s Department of Forest Resources. Under her leadership, the programs and research of the Tourism Center have served the industry and communities well.

Cynthia Messer, tourism specialist with the Tourism Center, has agreed to serve as interim director of the Tourism Center. Cynthia has led the Center’s programming in customer service and community tourism development for more than 22 years

Minnesota 4-H Foundation update

In June, Cara Miller left her position as executive director of the Minnesota 4-H Foundation and Jane Johnson, Extension’s chief development officer, agreed to serve as interim executive director for the 4-H Foundation, as well as continuing her work on major gifts for Extension.

During this interim time, the Minnesota 4-H Foundation Board and Extension leadership are reviewing and assessing the needs of the Foundation and Extension. There have been many changes since we last hired an executive director in 2003. Specifically:
  • Extension has created a development office and is actively growing our Extension-wide philanthropic work.
  • The University of Minnesota Foundation has shifted focus from annual giving to major gifts, and they are asking colleges to do the same.
  • The Minnesota 4-H Foundation executive director and staff are University of Minnesota Extension employees, and funded to a large extent by Extension.
  • The University is preparing for a major fundraising campaign. Extension and 4-H will be actively involved in the campaign.

The Minnesota 4-H Foundation board has identified a subcommittee that is looking at several important questions:
  • How can we be most efficient?
  • How do we grow our major gifts?
  • How do we ensure that the 4-H and Extension development efforts are coordinated?
  • How can we better align the Minnesota 4-H Foundation with the University of Minnesota Foundation resources?
I will be working closely with the board and subcommittee over the coming months to ensure that the generous gifts of our donors have the greatest positive impact on our programs, education and research. If you would like to share your ideas, please feel free to contact me or Jane Johnson.

Bev Durgan

Give to the Max Day

Give to the Max Day, Minnesota's annual giving extravaganza, is November 12. You can support Extension by visiting the University’s giving portal at click ‘Give Now.’ Extension funds and the 4-H Foundation are listed under Community and Outreach. By using the University’s site, know that 100% of your gift will go to support the program of your choice. There are no administrative fees!

If you have questions about Give to the Max, or about giving any time throughout the year, contact Jane Johnson, Extension development director and interim executive director of the Minnesota 4-H Foundation.

To learn more about how gifts to Extension research and education can make a difference in Minnesota, visit the Donate to Extension website.

The 2016 Garden Calendars are now available

The 2016 Minnesota Gardening Calendar is now available! View the calendar cover and details at the. The retail price is $14.99.

The calendar highlights research-based information on how to keep soil healthy, grow vegetables in all Minnesota hardiness zones and compost all year to feed your garden. A kitchen compost bucket sticker is included to remind you about what goes in, and what stays out.

Ordering options:
  1. Online at
  2. By phone: 612-625-3276
  3. Fax a purchase order to 612-624-6999
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